Well, friends. I don’t quite know how to start this post. What a week…
I don’t want the theme of my 2020 Coffee Talks to be coronavirus coverage, but I also can’t ignore the dark cloud that’s hanging over the world right now.
How about this? I’ll share what things look like in my neck of the woods at the moment, and then we’ll move on to lighter topics and some of the questions I’ve been getting lately.
I’ll divide things up with headings so you can skip over any part that doesn’t interest you.
As of 8PM last night, we had 371 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state of Pennsylvania, 85 in the city of Philadelphia, and 1,327 in New Jersey.
So far, there have only been 2 deaths in PA, but of course this virus takes a while to run its course, so that number will start to multiply quickly over the next few days and weeks.
On Thursday, our governor ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations, with enforcement actions against businesses beginning on Saturday, March 21st.
Parks are closed indefinitely, restaurants are only allowed to remain open for takeout and delivery, and only “life-sustaining” business may remain open. That includes grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, and stores like Target, Walmart, Lowe’s, and Home Depot.
The governor of New Jersey, our sister state just over the Delaware River from Philly, signed an executive order yesterday mandating residents to stay at home. He also canceled all gatherings until further notice — including weddings, in-person services, or even parties. I try to keep an eye on how the situation is unfolding in Jersey because I know we’re next.
For our family, life hasn’t changed much in the past week. We were already taking the governor’s recommendations seriously last weekend, although I was still allowing each of the girls to visit one friend, and we did get together with friends (outside only) one evening.
We put a kibosh on all that at the beginning of this week, and we’ve been pretty much living in isolation ever since. Fortunately, our home is a pretty nice place to be isolated!
My college-age son has had a 2-week spring break, while his professors prepare to teach the rest of the semester remotely. His classes start up again tomorrow, so he will suddenly have a lot less free time on his hands. He misses apartment life, but he’ll stay here for the foreseeable future.
My older daughter is a junior in high school, and she already schools at home through a public cyber charter school, so this hasn’t affected her much at all. In fact, she’s living her best life. Her quarter was extended for a couple of weeks, so she’s had more time to cook and bake and do my nails… haha! Teenage girls sure are handy to have around.
My younger daughter is in the 8th grade at our public middle school, and she misses school, her friends, and her teachers dreadfully. She’s been getting optional assignments from her teachers since Wednesday, so that has helped her keep busy, but she’s still bored out of her mind.
I’ve warned her that she may not go back to school at all this year, and that was not well received. Like so many kids, she’s missing out on so much she was looking forward to.
Paul’s job is I.T. and information security, so he’s able to work from home, although that has been a bit of an adjustment for all of us.
Our house is very open, and there’s not a door to the basement, where he has set up a makeshift office. He spends most of his days on conferences calls, and he has a booming voice, so that can be distracting. I’m just trying to be thankful he has a job that doesn’t require him to be subjected to COVID germs on a daily basis.
As for me, I’ve been working more hours than ever.
My job is never done, so I’ve been filling my days with work and the occasional walk around our neighborhood or over to a nearby park (although that has officially been shut down.)
I’ve definitely seen a decrease in affiliate sales over the past week or so, although the Nordstrom sale gave me a little boost, which was nice. A few brands have asked to hold off on the sponsored posts we had scheduled, but some are going ahead with them.
I do fear I won’t be getting as many contracts in the coming months, while we see how hard this is going to hit the economy, but at this point, we just have to wait and see.
If you’re curious how I make an income with this blog, you can read this post: How Do You Make Money On Your Blog?
And if you want to know how you can support your favorite bloggers during this uncertain time, I also wrote a post about Ways You Can Support Your Favorite Bloggers. (HINT: Most do NOT require shopping!)
Blogs are small businesses just like family owned restaurants, local boutiques, flower shops, etc. This blog does help support our family, and I truly value and appreciate your support.
Also, I’d appreciate you keeping my dad in your prayers. He’s retired, but he drives a bloodmobile for the Red Cross to stay busy. That requires him to go in and out of hospitals, and I worry about him contracting Coronavirus.
I FaceTimed with him yesterday, and he was in good spirits. He likes his job and doesn’t want to quit, and of course, someone needs to do it, but I do worry because of his age.
Meanwhile, we are trying to keep our spirits up by enjoying the little things. The other night, Caroline treated Becca and me to a gel manicure. (She got all the supplies for Christmas.) That was a fun time to bond.
Paul and Becca have been having daily backgammon tournaments, and we’ve all been getting outside together a lot more. We’re trying to make the best of it!
Okay, let’s move on to lighter topics…
I’ve been asked how intermittent fasting (IF) is going since being homebound. I’m actually so thankful I started IF a few months ago because there’s no doubt, it is helping me keep my weight in check during this extended time at home.
With Paul and the kids around more, there is constantly food being prepared and offered, and there’s something about knowing it is not my time to eat yet that helps me be able to decline politely and walk away. It’s a mental thing.
Think about it this way. When you’re on a diet, you are constantly making decisions — what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat… you don’t realize how exhausting that is and how it wears you down until you eliminate all of those decisions from your daily life. Decision fatigue is a thing!
It’s not that I don’t want to eat, or that I don’t ever get hungry, but if it’s not my time yet, I just fill a glass of water or make another cup of coffee and go back to my desk. Once I get busy working on something, I forget about the food for a while.
Of course, I’m fortunate that my kids are old enough to cook for themselves. I don’t have to make food that I can’t eat, and we don’t sit down to any meals as a family except for dinner, so I never have to sit and drink coffee or water while everyone else is eating. I hear intermittent fasters talk about doing that, and I always think that I’d hate that. So the IF lifestyle works really well for our family schedule and eating habits.
I’m a full three months in (starting week 13), and not only do I look different, I’m starting to feel different. Areas where I used to have extra fluff that I could feel as I moved around are suddenly gone, and my clothes continue to fit better.
I know this is such a vain topic considering everything happening in the world right now, but we women know how much our weight affects our mental state. I think I would feel a lot more depressed and hopeless right now if I was also putting on weight.
I’m also hoping that intermittent fasting is making me healthier and better able to fight this virus if I do come on contact with it. There are studies that suggest IF can help strengthen the immune system. No one really knows for sure, but I’m certain it can’t hurt.
At the very least, I’m eating less sugar and simple carbohydrates, which definitely can deplete one’s immune system.
All that to say, I’m still going strong and very happy with how I look and feel as a result of intermittent fasting.
This post is getting long, so I’ll keep this part brief.
My kitchen is pretty much done, although the wine rack has a big area where the paint was pulled off when the guys installed it. The painters were going to come back and fix it, but they were traveling last week, so I don’t really want them in here after that. Maybe Paul can work on it because I have no idea when this lockdown will end.
The carpenter needs to finish installing my soft-close hinge and drawer pulls, and I’m still waiting to get the working vent hood, but at least I have one in place for looks.
I’m so very thankful we had the most important parts finished before life as we know it came to an abrupt halt. We spend so much time in this part of the house, and having it all fresh and new really helps boost my spirits.
We were planning to start working on our powder room, but thankfully we hadn’t started that yet. That’s definitely on hold for the time being.
Finally, a word about Facebook Lives. I’ve been asked multiple times to bring these back, and I really want to. I think this would be a great way to connect with you all during these strange times. My house is a bit of a zoo, though, with everyone at home and Paul frequently on a conference calls.
I think my best bet is to move my Lives to the morning. I used to protect those morning hours for photo shoots and bible study and appointments, but now I’m here all day, and the kids tend to be in the kitchen around 1:00 banging around, so that’s not a great time anymore.
I also don’t think I’m going to make a set time. I’d rather go Live when I’m feeling chatty, and I’m at a good stopping point with work and everything else going on around here.
All that to say, I’ll try to pop on a few times this week, sort of like I do with Insta Stories. I’ll just give you an update with what’s going on with me, answer some of the questions I get on a regular basis, and then you can chime in and ask me questions as you find me.
I’ll post the recaps to my FB Page and share the link in my newsletter the following day, so anyone who misses them can watch on replay. I’ll also try to give those in my FB Group a heads-up before going on, as well as in my Insta Story.
Okay, that’s it for me! Our church is having a virtual worship service this morning with Zoom, so I need to get off here and get ready for that.
Isn’t it crazy how this virus is affecting every area of life? I’m so glad we can still connect online.
Have a blessed Sunday, my friends! And please, stay home if you can. xoxo